Is being exposed to heavy metals something that should be taken seriously?
The National Institute of Health defines heavy metals as “naturally occurring elements that have a high atomic weight and a density at least 5 times greater than that of water.” Some metals that fall into this category are arsenic, beryllium, cadmium, copper, iron, lead, mercury and zinc. While some are actually essential nutrients that are required for different biochemical and physiological functions, the necessary dosage is extremely minute. In larger amounts, these substances can build up in the body or the environment and create significant health hazards.
Everyone comes into contact with toxic substances, and, more and more, heavy metal testing is confirming that this is taking place on a daily basis. How harmful that contact may be depends upon the strength of the concentration and for how long, as well as the particular vulnerability of the individual exposed. While there are other factors that make someone vulnerable, in general, the members of the population most susceptible include:
- The very young
- The elderly
- The poor
- Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding
- Anyone with a compromised immune system, enzyme deficiency or genetic vulnerability
- Organ transplant recipients
- Those dependent on natural resources for food, clothing and shelter
Exposure alone does not necessarily mean that there is a health danger, which is good because these metals are, seemingly, everywhere. One of the reasons it is so difficult to limit contact with heavy metals is that they can be found in the food we eat, the water we drink and the air we breathe. Lead-based paint was banned by the government in 1978 but many houses exist that were built before that. Commercial products, industrial sites, farming operations and numerous other places are apt to have varying levels of concentrations of these metals.
In the event someone is exposed to a large amount of a heavy metal all at one time, like if a child managed to swallow a lead-containing toy, acute poisoning can occur. This can be quite serious causing long term health damage or even possibly death. Symptoms that may indicate acute poisoning from heavy metals range from confusion, numbness, nausea and vomiting all the way to coma.
Exposure over a longer period of time to lower levels of concentration, rather than a significant amount all at one time, is referred to as chronic heavy metal poisoning. Symptoms, which may be severe but less obvious and develop gradually, making diagnosis much more difficult, include:
- Increasing weakness
- Aching muscles and painful joints
- Decreased energy
Health issues related to heavy metal exposure can pose a serious threat and should be brought to the attention of your healthcare professional as soon as possible. There is also evidence that toxic buildup can contribute to difficulty in losing weight, in much the same way as hormone imbalances, nutrient deficiencies and stress. With any of these contributing factors, calorie cutting and exercise will often not be enough in the weight loss struggle.
At the Southern California Center for Anti-Aging, we strongly believe that a patient should fully understand his or her health and metabolic profile before choosing a weight loss plan. Testing to rule out heavy metal exposure is just one step of our advanced testing and analysis process. To learn more about our heavy metal testing, take advantage of our Free Consultation by calling (424) 247-4962 or click here to use our convenient online form.